Friday, December 09, 2005

Hostal Familiar, Cusco, Peru

Cusco's Plaza de Armas

Went downstairs to talk to the owner this morning. (Actually, the owner's son.) I explained what I found returning from dinner last night, the rummaged room, the missing cash. He was at a loss. He said in thirty years, they had but one "incident", and that was a "crazy lady".

I told him I intended to make a police report, but he asked that I wait until after he had a chance to speak to the staff this afternoon. Fair enough. Meanwhile, I asked for a new padlock (the doors are padlocked from the outside.)

Over time, I was beginning to doubt myself. Did I really count the money correctly before I went out yesterday? Certainly, there was no doubt about someone being in the room and rummaging around, but the dollars missing might be debated. (If a detective were grilling me, could I make the claim without a trace of doubt? Nope.) And why wouldn't the person have taken all the money, rather than just a portion?


Even without this incident to shake my confidence, the hostel is barely acceptable, but after getting the bike inside, I'm too lazy to move.

The place is not particularly clean. The water reeks of sulfur. There's a slatted wood platform to stand on in the shower, apparently because the drain doesn't work well. The toilet leaks constantly, but a nearby floor drain catches the trickle.

Saphi street broadens in the block where the hostel is, so all the tour buses park here, and drivers do their cleaning outside. Activity picks up early - about 6:00 a.m.

There's a shower-mounted electric water heater. You turn the water on, then flip a breaker to start the heater. The instructions tell you to turn the breaker off ("better with a dry towel") before turning the water off.

Went to "MundoNet" internet cafe for about five hours today, working on the blog - trying to anyway - without a great deal of success.

Returned to the hotel after 5:00 to see what the boss's son figured out, but he was nowhere to be found.

Back out onto the street and into the barrage of street vendors. Whether asking to polish your shoes, offering postcards or trinkets, the lines are often the same:

“My friend. Remember me? James Bond (or Tom Cruise). One Sole. Mi amigo.”


"Maybe later?”


"Okay. Maybe later."

I missed the better shot, with the warrior(?) raising his arms to the sky

Behind the young lady on the left is the famous 12-sided stone. It's difficult to get a picture in edgewise at this congested spot.

Little girl with a little goat against a big Inca polygonal wall

An example of the amazing precision

Inca wall with coursed, or layered stonework

Inca polygonal walls, the remnants of palaces, topped with Spanish colonial structures

Went to "Norton Rat's Tavern" (the biker bar) for a bowl of beans, sitting out on a balcony overlooking the Plaza. I noticed, though there was a constant circulation of taxis around the Plaza, I heard few horns. I wonder if there's an ordinance here prohibiting horns?

After dinner, stopped to chat with a policeman, Carlos Huayacochea. He confirmed that the Plaza and surrounding area is a "no-horn zone". Carlos also works as an Inca Trail guide and had many suggestions for my visit to the sanctuario.

As a guide, he earns $50 per day, far more than his wages as a policeman (I believe he said they are paid $7.50 per day.)

Returned to "Trotamundo's" do some more work on the internet.


Brad Houghton posted a story on the "Adventure Rider" website, recounting his and Melissa's ride to Machu Picchu the back way. I caught up with them at "Paddy Flaherty's Irish Pub". They were with two other New Zealand friends, but were fading fast and had to leave. They were both ill.

Cusco's Cathedral


Drew Kampion said...

This chapter reads like a Robbe-Grillet chapter. Can't wait to read the rest!

Genevieve said...

There's a shower-mounted electric water heater. You turn the water on, then flip a breaker to start the heater. The instructions tell you to turn the breaker off ("better with a dry towel") before turning the water off.

Also, be careful in the shower about stretching your arm up while washing your armpits -- you can sometimes get quite a shock if your hand brushes against the water heater.

Anonymous said...

3 comments (relocated here due to post consolidation):

otto said...

great photo-brings back memories
of when my family and I were there


Genevieve said...

What an fabulous embroidered skirt and vest she's wearing. It may be the peculiar style of her particular village or area.

It's interesting to see her standing against those stones with her teddy bear -- it gives a hint of how massive the stonework is.

Genevieve said...

It is just amazing how they did that. They were truly master stonemasons.